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Crysis Warhead - Crysis Warhead

By Alan Downing

Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Crysis Warhead

Summary

Our Score:

9

There's also a sense that Crytek is more in control of the overall structure this time around. Arguably, Crysis – like Far Cry – lost its way a bit two-thirds of the way through. The aliens and the frozen landscapes made for some impressive spectacle, but the action wasn't as exciting as it was when it was just you against the North Korean troops.

In Warhead the aliens are brought in earlier on and they prove much more challenging, working efficiently in groups and behaving more aggressively, even outflanking you or swarming you on occasion. The game also plays smarter in its three-way conflict, providing more battles between Nanosuited North Korean and US forces, US forces vs alien invaders and – best of all – scraps involving all three parties.

Make no mistake: this isn't a game where you can grumble about the lack of set-piece encounters. It would be enough that Warhead repeats the Half-Life 2 trick of making vehicle-based sections interesting. In fact, there's a chase sequence involving a hovercraft that's actually downright thrilling. Yet Warhead goes further – mixing up large, open battles, fights in constricted spaces, bold assaults and last-ditch defences with real aplomb.

There are some stunning examples of what you might like to call boss battles, and yet never in any of this do you feel that you have to do things in the one approved way. If you want to ditch the hovercraft and take that whole level on foot, tackling each enemy on your way, then you'll find it hard going but you should be able to do it. This is without a doubt the most continuously excellent work of FPS level design we've seen since Call of Duty 4 and Half Life 2: Episode 2.

And Warhead also does what I think nobody expected it to do: it actually trumps Crysis for visual spectacle. Now, I'd take some of the talk of lower system requirements with a pinch of salt. Last year, my – at the time – state of the art gaming system (a Core 2 Extreme 6850 with a Asus Geforce 8800 Ultra) coped with Crysis at 1680 x 1050 on high detail levels. The same machine struggled with Warhead at the equivalent settings without a drop in resolution to 1280 x 720 and anti-aliasing switched off. That said, it's worth having the fastest system you can get.

If Warhead 'only' had all the lovely, photo-realistic effects we saw last time around it would still be one of the best looking games on any system, but this time Crytek has worked harder to produce jaw dropping scenery or weird vistas that make strange juxtapositions of the tropical environment, military hardware and the alien ice. Interior sections that might have been drab are enlivened by fantastic lighting or gorgeous little details. It's safe to say that Warhead is a new benchmark by which all other FPS games must be judged.

Eggburt1969

September 23, 2008, 5:50 pm

Restrictive DRM (al la Spore) which I'm surprised you didn't mention in the review and excessively high system requirements mean I'm going to give this a wide berth, however cheap. Don't get me wrong, I've been building and upgrading PCs for years (16 years to be exact) and enjoy it, but the though of spending hundreds of pounds just to play ‘one’ game - which I can’t even run at the max settings - doesn't appeal to me. Such a shame as I found both of their prior titles - Farcry and Crysis - such good games. Oh well that's progress for you.

Gavin Hamer

September 23, 2008, 8:11 pm

This is one of the most significant games in the history of PC gaming... because of the DRM which hasn't been mentioned!





Apparently you can only install the game 3 times, and it installs a rootkit on your PC. Nice. I went to buy it based on this review before realising. Luckily I read the comments on another site before purchasing, because I definitely do not want to own such a disgraceful product. I suggest subtracting 8 from the rating as a DRM penalty.

Juxtah

September 23, 2008, 8:11 pm

@ Eggburt





Warhead is also available on Steam, which although it may do I don't think it comes with the excessive DRM that is packaged with the retail version. I manged to play the original crysis through on low/medium settings and it was still gorgeous, and I may just buy this if the gameplay turns out to be more refined.

TL1210

September 23, 2008, 8:23 pm

I waited ages for Cysis to come out, what a great excuse to upgrade my desktop ;).. I loved the first game, my jaw hit the floor in amazement plenty of times as the graphics are superb!





My only gripe with the 1st one was that it was too short, Im defiantly going to be buying this game... at 㾻 you cant go wrong!

Gavin Hamer

September 23, 2008, 9:48 pm

@Juxtah


A poster on Amazon.co.uk writes that they purchased the Steam version hoping to avoid the DRM, but instead got the DRM in addition to the Steam copy protection. Whether this is correct I have no idea.

Hans Gruber

September 23, 2008, 10:41 pm

Heard about Spore and a possible u-turn on the DRM front but it looks like EA's anti-piracy policy is here to stay from these comments at least: http://www.shacknews.com/onear...





They apply equally to Crysis: Warhead as well as any other EA published game, presumably. PC games present enough hassle to legitimate users because of the onerous installation and patching regime already. It's essential that an online de-activation authorisation is given so people who've purchased the game can continue to play it if and when they're simply upgrading (and changing) their hardware, which EA's DRM will see as a new PC. As for one, I am somewhat perplexed by the EA Games president Frank Gibeau's lack of mention and apparent lack of understanding that PC gamers are also avid hardware upgraders. It's enough hassle for me to reinstall my legitimate OEM copy of Windows XP since these days it always involves a call to Microsoft and explanation that yes, my hardware's changed since last time so why do this to games' software too?





Warhead looks like a worthy enough purchase btw. I found Crysis more than a bit tedious and drawn out in places. In fact I haven't replayed it properly due to the awareness I've got to play some of the boring alien-levels over.

ilovethemonkeyhead

September 24, 2008, 1:46 am

i think it could just be me, but those screenshots don't particularly look very nice...

Xiphias

September 24, 2008, 3:07 am

The problem with steam is valve's high pricing, Warhead is currently 25% more expensive on steam than it is as a boxed copy from an online shop.





It does sound like Crytek have finally got it right with warhead though, it'll be interesting to see whether farcry is better than it's awful predecessor.

Ed

September 24, 2008, 1:17 pm

I know all this DRM stuff can be a bit of a pain and when it goes wrong like it did when Bioshock was first released then there's good reason to get annoyed. However, if you've got a legitimate copy of the game and the DRM system works properly then you shouldn't have cause to worry. I for one had to call up the company that does the DRM for Bioshock after I'd installed it too many times and they simply said okay here's anotther activation code.

birdtable

September 24, 2008, 2:43 pm

Another reviewer in the pocket of a large software company ...No mention of securom or DRM ruining this game..Where can you get an honest review of the total product in this greedy corporate world.

TL1210

September 24, 2008, 8:58 pm

Buying through Steam you don't have to worry about DRM etc.. it is a bit more expensive but not having to put the disc in for the game makes it worthwhile..





I cant believe they are charging $70 for COD4!!! I bet the Americans don't pay that much for it.. another case of "Rip off Britain" me thinks.





I'll be buying through Steam :)

birdtable

September 24, 2008, 9:39 pm

Could someone explain to TL1210 that Steam has its own DRM etc etc

Brian White

September 25, 2008, 7:17 am

I meet the minimum requirements for this game. Should I even bother?

TL1210

September 25, 2008, 8:24 pm

birdtable.. im not sure what you mean.





I thought as long as your signed into steam, you can download/play the games you've paid for?





Ive never had a problem with it.. I don't have all of my games installed but I know that if I want to play them again after taking them off my pc, I just click download.

Ed

September 26, 2008, 1:09 pm

@birdtable





So what DRM does Steam have then?





Also, what's with questioning the integrity of the reviewer just because he doesn't mention DRM that most people will have no problem with. It's just underhand and unnecessary.

birdtable

September 26, 2008, 8:13 pm

ED ...just google Electronic Arts class action spore ... and TL1210 google steam drm ...

Kuba

March 14, 2009, 4:35 am

DRM should not really limit your game play in any way, unless you have a large amount of high end PC's lying around, and wish to install it on all of them. They will then simply give you another activation code if you ask, anyway. The put DRM in this time around because Crysis was highly pirated. In their defense, they wouldn't make much money if half the people just bought it and each installed in on their friends PC's as well. The reviewer did not mention DRM because it did not in any way limit his gaming experience.

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